London bankers win EUR 50 m court battle
(LONDON) - A group of London investment bankers on Wednesday won their High Court battle to receive a total of 50 million euros ($65 million) in unpaid bonuses.
The 104 individual claims brought by former employees of Dresdner Kleinwort Limited against the company and its new owner Commerzbank, Germany's second-biggest bank, ranged from 15,000 euros to two million euros.
"I have come to the conclusion that the claimants are entitled to payment of bonuses provisionally awarded to them," said judge Robert Owen.
The bankers claimed that Commerzbank had reneged on a deal to pay the bonuses promised to them by Dresdner before the takeover in 2008.
Their lawyers had claimed the bonuses for 2008 should have been paid due to "binding and enforceable contractual promises".
A Commerzbank spokesman said later: "We are disappointed with the court's decision and will seek leave to appeal.
"The bank believes that the decision to reduce discretionary bonuses in light of 6.5 billion euros of losses at Dresdner Kleinwort for 2008 was responsible and justified."
The main argument had revolved around whether a previous announcement of bonuses amounted to a legally-binding agreement, the statement said.
"It is the bank's submission that there is every prospect that the Court of Appeal would come to a different view on this matter," said the Commerzbank spokesman.
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